-by KParthasarathi Tuesday, October 30, 2007
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It was a big bungalow with the building far from the gate. It was guarded by a security man. The house did not appear to have been occupied by many occupants. No children were seen playing around in the lawn. There were no women appearing to live in the house. Occasionally some cars used to come only to go back soon. There was no specific time; it could be mid day or late nights. The gate remained always locked. Some new buildings were coming up in the posh area.
A fat man in white Kurta pyjama walking on the long verandah noticed a man sitting on the culvert on the opposite side of the road. The man had a few days stub on his face. His shirt was dirty and frayed at the collar. The fat man wondered why he was sitting there doing nothing. When he came out to the verandah after some time, he saw the same man still loitering there. He was seen frequenting a tea shop nearby. In the days that followed, he found this man always there. His suspicions were aroused as he thought he could be a burglar reconnoitering the area. It was not a very comfortable thought. He asked the durwan about the stranger who confirmed that he too saw him for the last one week but he seemed harmless. May be he came daily along with someone working in the new building that was coming up.
He asked the durwan to call him. When he came, the fat man asked “What are you doing here daily? I have been seeing you for a week doing nothing except sitting on the culvert or sipping tea in the teashop. What brings you here?” He replied in very deferential tone “Saheb, I come here daily hoping to get some work in the new buildings. I am a plumber and electrician but have no work for a fortnight. The tea shop owner is from my village and I take my food there.”
The fat man though not fully pleased with the answer told him that was fine though he felt he was wasting his time here. The stranger replied “I agree, Saheb, but will give it a try for a few more days. I think I will succeed in getting what I want.” He became stress-free when the stranger was not seen from the next day.
It was past noon a few days later, the fat man noticed that no stranger was visible on the culvert. He became a little relaxed and talked to some one on his mobile. In a few minutes a black sedan came and the gate was opened to allow the car inside. The fat man came down to receive the visitor. When the door did not open and the glass was drawn down by a few centimeters, the fat man spoke in hushed tone “Hurry up, I don’t see any stranger outside the gate. Be quick to unload the stuff and get away fast.”
The door opened and the driver came out with a dazed look. There was fear in his eyes. The fat man shouted “You fool, what has happened to you? Carry the stuff quickly to the first floor. I will kill you if you play any dirty tricks.” When the driver looked behind his shoulder, the stranger in tatters accompanied by three armed men in police uniform stepped out. “Your game is up and my job is completed. Yes, your suspicions were well founded. I had tips about the goings on here and I intercepted the car today. There are several police vans outside at the street corner. Do not attempt any tricks.” The constables promptly hand cuffed the fat man. The driver took them to the first floor along with the packets in the car. When the entire stack of contraband stuff was seized, the Superintendent of Police in frayed collar smiled happily.